Turn Up the Volume: Kinkster DJs for 2K18

Check out our list of DJs we've had our eye on in 2017 which we look forward to hearing more from in 2018
Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJs

When I first thought about featuring a DJ on Kinkster MAG, I never realized the magnitude of the impact it would have. This is a community of talented individuals who are more than appreciative to be recognized.

I’ve known many DJs over the years. I’ve called many of them friends. I have to be honest though, I never understood the hard work, creativity, time, and the effort it took to create. Whether you’re at home or on the dance floor, good DJs take you on a journey of sound, a sound filled with percussion, drums, vocals, horns and so much more.

Featuring DJs was the best thing I could have ever done. Being a DJ is an art form that goes under-appreciated and isn’t given the respect that it deserves.

I love music. Remixes help me appreciate artists or songs that I may not have given a chance initially. DJs have introduced me to new artists, sounds, and new genres of music. I’m reminded of the time when I heard, “No More Drama” by Junior Vasquez at Twilo. It was the first time listening to it and I loved it so much that I rushed home to purchase the CD. However, the real kiki to the story, you should have seen my face when I learned that it was not a dance track, but a slow depressing yet empowering song.

The point, DJs take songs and turn them into masterpieces that shape history and have become anthems for love, break-ups or merely continuing the fight for equality and justice for all. In my opinion, the quote, “music is life,” is not just a quote, but a code of honor and a livelihood.

This year has been great. I’ve met and connected with many DJs that I’ve come to respect and admire. The one thing I admire most is their hustle. For some, being a DJ is a side-hustle, but if you ask them, working a 9 to 5 is only the means to them doing what they love, creating and sharing music.

We’ve been fortunate to have interviewed some of the best DJs in the world from Mark Farina, DJ Ovahness, DJ Tristan Jaxx, Guy Scheiman and DJ DeMarko.

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJsAs we meet DJs and come to know them we have also decided to give titles to some of them. This year, Puerto Rico raised but now Brooklyn, NYC based, Bio Zounds, was named Kinkster MAG’s 2K18 DJ on the Rise (right). He is an up and coming circuit DJ specializing in the sounds of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico Tribal House, infused with electronic elements. Managing Editor, Corey Wesley was captivated by one of his recent remixes of “Stank,” an electric, pulsing tribal remix to make your pussy wet. Read the full-length interview here.

The following, which is in no particular order, are DJs we’ve had our eye on in 2017 which we look forward to hearing more from in 2018.

Kinkster MAG is proud to be smart, original, fearless, and inclusive. We’ve included a female DJ, DJ Deanne. She has been influential and progressive enough to stand out amongst her fellow counterparts. Deanne’s drive and strong sound made us want to include her in our list.


We asked these DJs a few questions to get to know them and their art form better. We hope you’ll find ways to connect with them too.


Joe Pacheco

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJs: Joe PachecoI first started in 2015. Some of my early influences included DJ Suri, Ivan Gomez, Jackinsky, and Paulo.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?

The turning point in deciding to pursue DJing was Urge Miami Labor Day Weekend 2015 with Paulo and Jackinsky; the overall experience from music to venue and production amazed me so much that I knew this is what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to recreate this exact moment in time again.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

The main challenge as a DJ is staying relevant in the scene. It’s the struggle of how to make yourself a household name in an oversaturated market of phenomenal talent. What makes DJing interesting will always be the audience’s reaction to my music; I started DJing because music brings a level of joy that I can’t get from anywhere else, and I wanted to be able to share this feeling of bliss with everyone. I figured if you’re a DJ, you’re essentially the gatekeeper to this happiness. There’s nothing that brings me more joy than playing a set and seeing that the crowd is living for every minute of it, and that’s why I keep doing it.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

I must admit that I am 100% a control freak when it comes to my music, and everything is meticulously planned, of course with some wiggle room for impromptu changes. However, it all starts with assessing the event that I am booked for; I think about the city it’s in, the venue location, the demographic attending, the time of the event, etc. It all helps me determine music direction for my sets because I want to always create a cohesive journey for my crowd—something that will leave a lasting impression.

Describe for me your feelings when you play music?

It always feels like I’m really just at an intimate house party controlling the music and playing music that I know my friends love. Music is something very personal to me, so while I may exude confidence in the booth, I can’t help but feel a bit vulnerable because I’m sharing such an intimate side of myself with the world.

What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

I always try to build sets that incorporate newly released tracks, anthems/crowd pleasers that everyone knows, and at least one classic house track. I feel it’s important to appease the audience with familiar music while educating them on both new and classic music because it provides a varied music experience that doesn’t become repetitive and monotonous.


DJ Nesto

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJs: Joe PachecoOne of my intensive moments has to be back in 2004 when I was hired to play for a fashion magazine gala overseas in Japan. It was so overwhelming being so early in my DJ career.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

16 years later and still being relevant is not easy in the Dj world, I’m from the old skool where I played vinyl, and that’s where the talent of counting beats and beat matching comes in. That’s a huge factor in my book, appose to now where anyone can be a DJ where you can let the app or laptop do it for you.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

Depends on the type of party,  Today music is slowly becoming one huge genre, whether it’s a House, club, circuit, top 40. You just have to be prepared. But if I had to pick, 9 out of 10xs I’ll start off with some good  House Music, where I know everyone is going to dance.

Describe for me your feelings when you play music?

I’ll put it this way…whatever you are going through at the moment, no matter your mood, good or bad 4 words: MUSIC IS THE ANSWER.

What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

This is a good one. I mostly see what the mood and energy of the crowd is. I like a build up. Nice and lite at first, then you hit them with that one track that gets everyone jumpin’. There is no feeling like, when you start playing a specific track and you hear the crowd roar. It’s a DJ high, then you take it from there. The dance floor becomes your thrown.


DJ Guy DeGiacinto

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJsI started DJing in 1986 at the age of fifteen. My inspiration and passion came from DJ Mario Tremblay (known as MC Mario). He did a radio mix show on a Montreal radio station called “The Mastermind Mix” and he motivated me to want to become a DJ. Other early influences were Peter Rauhofer, Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia and Tony Moran… to name a few. My ultimate goal was to one day have my own radio show in Montreal – a goal I did reach and was always very proud of.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?

Many years ago while being successful in Montreal clubs, I was in a relationship with a very jealous and controlling partner. I was young and foolishly in love and was imposed a condition to choose my music or the relationship. At the time, I chose the relationship and left the scene for several years although I always remained closely connected to music. During that time, I returned to school and obtained a Master’s Degree in Digital Media and taught college for almost 8 years in Montreal, Québec, Canada. In 2005, my partner committed suicide and that changed everything in my life. Some years passed and in 2011 I met the love of my life who encouraged me to return to DJing, producing music and to strive at making my dreams become a reality. I have not looked back since and every day I am one step closer to reaching my goals.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

Nowadays, producing music is necessary to get the name recognition although it is rarely lucrative. I love working in the studio, creating original music, remixing for other artists or mashing things up to stand out from others during my live sets. It helps get your name out there and get the promoters to hire you as ultimately, I love to perform live. Although my music and skills speak for themselves, at forty six years old, I am not getting any younger and certain promoters are hiring young eye candy dj’s with six packs and although I am still in pretty good shape, have never depending on my looks, time spend in a gym or spinning shirtless to get bookings.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

It always depends on the venue I am playing for. As a resident DJ at Southern Nights, Fort Lauderdale, I organized my folders by “Start, Peak, Late Night, Must Plays and Special”. For larger venues such as GayDays in Orlando, I pretty much knew what I would be playing so I also have a “Acapellas” folder as well as I like to remix on the fly by setting hot cues in my tracks and loop certain parts while throwing down some acapellas on top of instrumental parts. At some venues, you are able start your set with an intro and when the opportunity is there, I love to create fun and unique intros to get things started or when replacing a DJ with a very different style.

Describe for me your feelings when you play music?

When I play music, I am in my own little world and I am in ecstasy! No need for any drugs as my music gives me a natural high and there’s nothing like it! I feed off of the energy of a room and together we take a journey into sound.

What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

For my sets, I do not prepare and practice mixing in advance. I do mix in key for the most part so will spend time organizing my music harmonically. I always feed off of the energy of the room and build my live sets in consequence. I have a general sense of direction to where I would like to take it but I really never know as every set is different and unique. I do of course have personal favorites that I tend to play during my sets (especially one of my own originals or remixes) but only if it flows with the energy of the room.


DJ Ted Bishop Nieves

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences? 

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJsI started DJing at around the age of 16, so 1986. I bought my own turntables and mixer with the money I made from my summer job. Back then, I was all about freestyle music, Judy Torres, Cynthia, TKA, Coro were all great influencers in my musical taste until it evolved in the early to mid 90s.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career? 

In the early 90’s I lived in a 4 bedroom apt with about 6 other guys and a girl.  They took me out to my first excursion to The Sound Factory where I heard Junior Vasquez spin for the first time. There I was blown away by the journeys that he took the crowd on and from that moment I fell in love with that energy. Because I had so many roommates, I always had a great audience to play with and experiment on. That time of my life was when I developed a love and appreciation for the big room sounds.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you? 

The biggest challenge for me right now is the lack of big rooms in NYC. I do consider myself lucky because I get to DJ 4-5 times a month. But that is in the bar circuit. I’m still trying to work my way into one of those big rooms that have parties 1 – 2 times a month, but the competition in NYC is intense because there’s so much amazing talent here still.  And that is what keeps DJing such a fresh and interesting part of my life. Always trying to take myself to the next level by challenging myself, knowing that there is so much competition out there.  Sometimes I’m too hard on myself, but I have to be if I want to continue moving forward.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set? 

When I prepare for a set, one of the first decisions I need to make is what sort of energy or emotion I want my audience to experience and then I work my way through my library and create layers from there.

Describe for me your feelings when you play music? 

For me, one of he best aspects of DJing is connecting with the crowd. If at least half the room isn’t cheering and reacting to my music in a positive way, I’m failing in my duty. The best way to describe it, when all things are aligned, is to the feeling you would get when you’ve received a standing ovation for your performance in a show. It’s intoxicating.

What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

Depending on the venue, I will usually play what I think works best with the mood I’m trying to set for the room. For example, I wouldn’t play a high energy, bitch-track at the Eagle and I wouldn’t play a deep, sexy house track at Barracuda.


DJ Deanne

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJsI started DJing during my 2nd go around at college in 1999. I already had one degree and I was working on my 2nd. I had just come out and really thought this (sports medicine) was my life’s direction. I was working my way through college at the only gay dance club in Bloomington, IN. Before my bartending shifts, I would practice on vinyl with the resident DJs at the club for fun. I loved it! This club was surprisingly underground and I couldn’t get enough. Before I knew it, I was DJing on Monday nights for the drag show. It wasn’t a busy night, but I took it very seriously. My influences were Junior Vasquez, Roger Sanchez, Peter Rauhofer, and Robbie Rivera. Over the years, I have added artists like Mark Knight, Chus & Ceballos, Erick Morillo and Oscar G to my list of greatest influences. My passion is to bring an experience to the dance floor. When I first got into this, that’s what it was all about…the experience. And that’s what I want to deliver.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?

The first part comes when I was on the verge of deciding whether to go to graduate school or not in 2001. I got a “big” break to play in Indianapolis at the premier club of the city. It was my first big room, “big” party experience. There were so many emotions that night…highs, lows and everything in between. When I saw all of my friends on the dance floor living their best life to my music I LOST it. I knew that grad school was out and that DJing was what I was meant to do with my life. This was all new to me so I still had to support myself. I split my time between DJing and managing nightclubs and restaurants and directing the Indianapolis Pride Festival and, in that, my career was somewhat secondary. Wanting to make sure that I gave this everything I have, in 2013 my wife and I picked up the furry kids and we relocated to South Florida. It’s been my best decision to date.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

My main challenges as a DJ revolve around breaking into new markets. Promoters and venues are very focused on making sure they hit their numbers (and I totally understand that). As an “up-and-coming DJ” (though I have been doing this for over 15 years now) they might see me as risky compared to some of the bigger DJs. And I get it. All I can say is that I have a 100% retention rate. No one has ever not asked me back. And I think that’s about reception, impression, performance, personal connection and the MUSIC. And that’s the challenge…making sure I connect in whatever city/venue/party that I play for. And that’s what makes it interesting. Producing music is much the same. I have to admit, 2 years ago I had only done a few mash-ups and edits. I made a concerted effort in 2017 to produce more. To date, I have over a dozen remixes that have charted Top 20 or higher on Billboard’s Dance Chart and I have done other remixes for circuit’s stars like, Obra Primativa, Nina Flowers, Amuka, Dee Martello, Bio Zounds and more. You never know what is going to to move your audience. And I love the challenge of that.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

I usually start with an understanding of the party, the venue and the audience. Not every party is the same. I’m a big visualizer. I do my research and I really try to put myself in that scenario in my mind ahead of time. If I do good research and I trust my instincts, then I am usually pretty successful in selecting the right tracks for the party. But, I ALWAYS leave it to the moment and play what the room is needing and I am willing to deviate from my original plan as needed.

Do you think that the DJ world is a men’s world? In your opinion is it harder for females to become famous DJs?

First, I’m not in this to become famous. I’m in it to do what I love, bring music to the masses, be happy and make a living. But, in some respects, I do think it’s a man’s world. The women that have dared to make it in this gay man’s scene have done it so fiercely. Wendy Hunt, Susan Morabito, Twisted Dee, Alyson Calagna, Tracy Young, DJ Irene, Kimberly S and more have paved the way for more female DJs to do what we do without fear. Our scene is at, I think, a pivotal time. On one hand, sex sells. Clearly, I do nothing for the populous in that regard (at least, I don’t think 😉 ) That’s a challenge. But, I press on. Because I know that I have something to offer. As Celeda says…”Music is the Answer”. And as long as people will listen to my story I will read it to them. I know that we will get back to the music and the focus on sex/drugs/party will become secondary to that.

Describe for me your feelings when you play music?

How can you put it into words? The preparation for the night is frantic. Do I have the right music? Do I have enough? Will they like me? The start of the night…what if no one comes? Am I too hard? Not hard enough? Too vocal? Not vocal enough? Every mix is important to building the night. Will this next track be the perfect one for what’s next? The pressure is intense. Then, when you get into “the zone” it’s where the absolute reward is. You know that you are delivering because you can see it on the faces of your people on the dance floor. When the smiles are abundant, the hands are in the air, the screams, the whistles, the cracks of the fan fill the room, you know you are doing your “job” and there is no greater feeling.

What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

Like I tried to describe before, I plan for a party based on my research. I’m usually on point. But sometimes I throw it to the curb because of what the room is dictating. So, my sets are very in the moment. But you can always expect an upward arc of energy and the element of surprise. I like to build the energy, keep people on their toes, and throw some surprises in my set that raise the hair on the back of your their necks. I want people to leave feeling like SOMETHING just happened.


DJ Relentless

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Music News, Kinkster MAG, DJ, Kinkster DJs: Joe PachecoI started DJ-ing in 1980 with my uncle, Herbert King. He had just moved to Tampa, Florida and needed an assistant since he was blind and starting a new job at WMNF 88.5. I had always loved music and received my first record player at the age of 5. My first record was “ABC” by The Jackson 5 and I used to wear it and my mother out daily by playing it over and over again.

I guess you could say that my uncle was my first influence, but the second one would be Walter Winston (local legendary gay DJ at Rene’s Lounge in West Tampa). The guy was a god on turntables! Later would come Junior Vasquez, David Morales and Satoshi Tomiie.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?

Between the moment I actually got my first mix right with the songs “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys and “Under The Influence” by Vanity in 1986 to getting my first big gig at The Limelight for Valentine’s Day in 1999 those thirteen years would probably be the moments that you are talking about. I learned so much and developed the work ethic that I have today. I seem to have pooled all the knowledge that my uncle and Mr. Winston gave me into the mixing and programming fool before you.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

I’d have to say that the only challenges I have are the learning curve. Technology changes constantly in the music business. And you have to think that when I started DJ-ing turntables were the main tool. I’ve watched CDs and CD mixing come and go. And now everything is done with computers. The same for recording and producing. I did my first recordings in a bathroom and we literally played each sample and spent hours piecing together our work. Now you do it all on a laptop.

For me, I still find DJ-ing to be the better task for me. There is nothing like reading a floor or a room and finding the groove that captures the crowd. When it comes to producing it is really hit or miss. I mean…I love the creative process of making music but it’s not a guaranteed hit. They might not get it. They might not like it at all. Making music is an art. Spinning music is an art form.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

It depends on where I am spinning. Obviously, if it is for a general residency at a venue you get a general idea where to start because you do it so often. If it’s for a booking at a venue that I’ve never spun for, I like to go listen to the acoustics and at least one of the resident DJs. And of course, special events like weddings or corporate you obviously have to do your research of what demographic you will be playing for.

Do you think that the DJ world is a men’s world? In your opinion is it harder for females to become famous DJs?

I’m not a female DJ but I do often DJ in drag as my alter-ego Jade Elektra. Because of drag is not usually associated with DJ-ing it is sometimes hard to get taken seriously even though I have more experience than most of the DJs on the scene today.

Describe for me your feelings when you play music?

It is total communication. I am having a conversation with my audience. We communicate by their reactions. Some dance. Some just tap their feet. Others stop their conversation when they hear something they like. It’s all about communicating.

What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

This goes back to reading your floor or room and communicating with your audience. I’m not a fan of requests by sometimes a request can give you an idea what direction to take your playlist.


 

Categories
Music Features

Founder, Co-Owner & Managing Editor. Corey has experience in the corporate financial services, training, brand development, and when he is not writing he's at home dancing nude with a glass of wine.

Subscribe to the Kinkster Brands NYC Mailing List

* indicates required
Email Format

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN